Why won't my Meyer lemon trees lemons change color?

forestelvesDecember 11, 2009

My Meyer lemon tree has a lot of lemons that are green and they have been green for 2 years now, plus some more blooms and new fruits are starting up again. Was I tricked into buying a lemon tree and not a Meyer lemon tree? The fruit smells like a lime, but I don't know what an unripe lemon smells like. I have been feeding it in the hopes that they will soon turn yellow.

ItÂs planted in a pot so I move in and outside to protect it from the cold winters.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Citrus only changes color in cool/cold weather. Since you move yours inside in winter, the fruit doesn't change color. Of course you can't leave it outside in winter. You just have to accept that the fruit won't change color. That doesn't mean it isn't ripe. So try some of the older fruit. A lemon is ripe when it's big enough.

My citrus is in a greenhouse that is only heated enough to avoid freezing. The fruit starts to change color in Oct/Nov as the nights fall into the 40s and 50s. They fully color up with lows in the 30s. If you get your tree that cool in winter the fruit should turn yellow. But it's not necessary for useable fruit.

The Fruitnut

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 10:48PM
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tsmith2579(7B)

I grow Ponderosa lemon and calamondin orange and both ripen around Thanksgiving. The calamondin ripens all year but everything on it ripens in November. My greenhouse is kept cool. I don't heat except when the temps go below 35*.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2009 at 4:24PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Ditto! My oranges and meyers ripened once they were exposed to very cold weather..

    Bookmark   December 12, 2009 at 5:34PM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

I have to disagree fruitnut. Citrus do not change color due to cool weather. In fact, the same variety planted in 2 climates will turn color earlier in the warmer climate. Some varieties do not color up until it starts to warm up the second year, after the second year's blossom is done. Color is by variety and getting enough heat and growing season.
More likely it's still green because it's not getting enough heat for enough days.
You say 2 years, like 24 months and a full 2 years? or more like 15 moths into the second year? If more like 15 months, wait until the next warm season, they may still ripen.
If it smells like lime, it may be lime. But even lime will turn a lighter green, to even yellow when really ripe.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 8:07PM
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malcolm_manners

First, realize that "ripeness" and peel color are independent of each other in citrus. But secondly -- in the case of oranges and most mandarins, it is indeed cool weather that triggers the color change -- specifically temperatures below 55 F. In grapefruit, lemons, and limes, however, cool temperatures are not required.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 8:53PM
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cebury(9)

/agree malcom_manners.

/agree softmentor with this statement: But even lime will turn a lighter green, to even yellow when really ripe.

My area went from warm weather (high in mid-70's) the next day 20 degree drops to cold weather (mid 50's) -- 2 days later the valencia and navel trees were all showing orange color (it took a week more for them to develop deep coloring). Ditto with the Meyers turning yellow (though only about 2 dozen lemons on young tree). It felt like I could stare at them and watch the color change right before my eyes.

A small portion of my Eurekas started turning yellow before the cold season came and took much longer to deepen than the oranges.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 5:26AM
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forestelves

Thanks Everyone for the Help

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 12:18PM
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